Laura Bush Keynote Speaker at Conference on New Orleans' Cultural Rebirth

May 1, 2006

Mike Strecker
Phone: 504-865-5210

As the 2006 hurricane season begins, First Lady Laura Bush will join dozens of artists, educators, journalists, chefs, writers and other cultural leaders at Tulane University in New Orleans as she presents the keynote address for "Rebirth: People, Places and Culture in New Orleans," a conference examining the role New Orleans' cultural legacy will play in the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

The conference will be co-sponsored by Tulane University and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and held from May 30 to June 1, 2006. Other speakers include NBC news anchor Brian Williams; activist, educator and New Orleans native Donna Brazile; local restaurateur Ralph Brennan; New Orleans native and jazz legend Ellis Marsalis; Tulane University President Scott Cowen; Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson and Richard Moe, president for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"Restoring and protecting New Orleans' cultural heritage, its soul, its mind, is as vital to the recovery of the city as rebuilding its homes, businesses and infrastructure," Cowen said. "That's what this conference is all about."

"While the force of Hurricane Katrina threatened to wipe away the bricks and mortar of New Orleans, the city's rich cultural heritage could never be erased," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "We at the National Trust are committed to preserving both the historical and cultural heritage of New Orleans, and we are pleased to be working with so many committed preservationists and cultural leaders to ensure the rebirth of the city."

Through presentations, performances and dining experiences, attendees will explore how hurricane recovery strategies have included steps to protect the city's cultural heritage. The conference will consider what opportunities are being lost and will offer a chance for local and national leaders to plan how governments, businesses, non-profits, universities and private citizens can work together to save the unique cultural assets that define New Orleans.

The three-day event will also feature renowned New Orleans' restaurant owners Leah Chase, Frank Brigtsen, Wayne Baquet and JoAnn Clevenger; food critic Tom Fitzmorris; jazzmen Irvin Mayfield and Kermit Ruffins; columnist and Pulitzer-Prize finalist Chris Rose; plus various neighborhood representatives and preservationists.

"Rebirth: People, Places and Culture in New Orleans" will bring together New Orleans' greatest cultural ambassadors with some of the nation's most preeminent leaders and journalists and will offer networking opportunities between local cultural organizations and the preservation community. Participants will have an opportunity to develop new local and national partnerships, increase public awareness regarding the continued threat to the region, and identify a set of priorities to ensure specific cultural resources are protected and secured.

The conference is co-sponsored by Dillard University, Xavier University, Loyola University, and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to protect the irreplaceable places that tell America's story.

Staff at the Washington, D.C., headquarters, six regional offices and 28 historic sites work with the Trust's 270,000 members and thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states. For more information, visit

Citation information:

Page accessed: Monday, May 30, 2016
Page URL:

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000